Thursday, September 08, 2005


Our education system is broke, and I don't mean financially. It's old, outdated. We are using an Industrial Age education model during the Information Age. Bill Gates wife, Melinda French Gates, discuss this concept in a speech on May 12, 2005.

I doesn't matter how much money we throw at the current education system. It doesn't matter how big or small the classrooms become, it won't help the kids become prepared for the modern workplace. Right now, the only thing the education system does is babysit the kids, while teaching them to become good little consumers. In my view, the current education system isn't just obsolete, it's making the problem worse.

The classroom is the wrong learning environment for many people, including me. I'm guessing about 50% of the people in any educational facility at this moment are in the wrong place.

Some of the problems, as I see it:
  1. Kids, even in colleges, are expected to learn subjects at the same rate. The current grading system doesn't grade on what was learned. It grades on how well the student learned at the suggested pace. Some students learn subjects faster, and other subjects slower.
  2. The agrarian based calander we use now must go. There is no need for summer vacations. We could replace with seasonal vacations; 1-2 weeks per season.
  3. Students could learn subjects at their own pace. This would require learning and practicing time management - something kids will need for the future. There would be no need for grading, or pass fail. Once a subject is learned to the required levels, a certificate of that subject is earned.
  4. Activity must be part of any new system. I'm almost convinced inactivity is a major cause of our health problems, including depression and anxiety. The current system is teaching our kids how to be inactive, and creating a society of phyiscally incompetent people who have no confidence in their physical abilities.

Those are just some things, some ideas. I don't have the answers, and I could be entirely wrong about all this anyway.

Maybe, my education can help me do something to make changes.


Julie said...

I know there are many students and teachers who would agree with you. Unfortunately, it seems that the people who are in the best position to make changes are the ones who are least motivated to do so.

My all-time favorite teacher was my third-grade teacher... she used "revolutionary" teaching methods like multi-disciplinary projects, and self-paced learning. My mother hated her and thought she was a flake. On the contrary, I learned more in third grade than in the other four years of elementary school combined. Not just reading, math, and spelling, but stuff about nutrition, the metric system, US history, perseverence, conservation... all stuff that she wasn't required to teach us, but we "accidentally" learned anyway.

I think she actually lives somewhere near me; I should look her up.

However, I do not recommend a typical gym class for teaching confidence in physical abilities. My experiences in gym class had the opposite effect. It wasn't until I had been out of school for many years that I finally became convinced that I did not pose a major public safety menace just by walking down a flight of stairs.

Danny said...

I completely agree with you about 'gym' class. The past gym education served to push more people AWAY from activity, than toward it.

Physical WORK! That's the ticket. No more gym class. How about FARM life class.

Oh, wait. No more 'real' farms left in US. Corporate owned now. Seems like we've outsourced almost everything.

Julie said...

It is not a bad idea to combine phys ed with agriculture or some other type of manual skill, as long as the students get to keep what they've made. Otherwise it's yet another source of free labor for the government.

Danny said...

Free labor for the government > reduced taxes > healthier kids > better work ethic >

I'm looking for the problem here. Help me out. LOL